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Second Life: Exploring the Path to Self-Transcendence

Author: William Jamaal Fort

“Only you can take inner freedom away from yourself, or give it to yourself. Nobody else can.” - Michael A. Singer

Throughout our lifetimes, our educational experiences offer each of us a continual bounty of useful information that informs, not only our professional lives, but our private lives as well. Although we retain most of the information that is essential for our careers, much of that information gets lost with the passage of time. Untethered from the experience of our daily lives, it slowly descends into the deepest recesses of our subconscious. Other nuggets of wisdom remain shimmering like brilliant diamonds in our memory. The brightest diamond in my personal collection was the work of Abraham Harold Maslow. A professor at Alliant International University, Columbia University, Brandeis University, Brooklyn College and the New School for Social Research, Maslow was famed and widely regarded as a pioneer in the field of what became known as positive psychology. Positive psychology focuses on the aspects of human psychology that make life worth living, as opposed to viewing man as a composite of negative symptoms. One of Maslow’s most important contributions to this field was his famous hierarchical chart which illustrates man’s essential needs for living successfully.

In Maslow’s chart was brilliantly condensed for me those foundational needs (Physiological, Safety, Love/Belonging, & Esteem needs) that must be met by every human being, before achieving what became my personal Holy Grail: Self-Actualization. As illustrated by Maslow, self-actualized individuals were self-directed, independent, creative, spontaneous and most importantly, free – or at least as free as one can be in contemporary society. In organismic theorist, Kurt Goldstein’s view, self-actualization